Posts Tagged ‘cricket’

Extended Champions Trophy hangover a reason for Test debacle: Rashid

KARACHI: Former captain Rashid Latif has pinpointed Pakistan team’s “inappropriate preparation” as the main reason for their downfall in Test cricket.

Talking to this correspondent over phone from Islamabad, the ex-Test wicketkeeper/batsman minced no word in recalling the post-Champions Trophy attitude of the team management and the Pakistan Cricket Board as one of the major reasons for the country’s downfall in the five-day format.

“One of the main problems was the extended hangover of the [2017] Champions Trophy triumph. Captain, coaches, management, selection committee or the board, everybody was under the influence of the historic feat longer than required,” Rashid maintained.

After the Champions Trophy, Pakistan lost eight out of 13 Test matches while winning only four.

Rashid also questioned the team’s preparations leading up to the ongoing South Africa tour as well as the team combination.

“Preparations weren’t up to the mark. In the first Test, Azhar Ali came to bat at number four, who never played at this slot. In the second innings of the second Test, Azhar was pulled back at number three while Fakhar Zaman batted at number six. This is the reflection of bad preparation and is indicative of the fact that Pakistan lacked middle-order batsmen on the challenging tour,” Rashid elaborated.

“The likes of Usman Salahuddin and Saad Ali were carried for about a year but were sidelined. Similarly, [pacer] Mir Hamza was also dropped for the South Africa tour,” he pointed out.

In the third Test against South Africa, Rashid reckoned, the focus of the Pakistan team management shifted to the forthcoming ODI series. Therefore, he added, Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf were included in the playing XI.

“Along with Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez and Usman Shinwari, Shan Masood has also been included in the ODI squad which I feel is an awkward move. No doubt Shan’s performance in the [South Africa] Test matches was brilliant but it doesn’t warrant an alteration to the combination of the limited-overs team,” Rashid emphasised.

While admitting there were flaws in Sarfraz Ahmed’s captaincy skills, Rashid insisted that only the skipper was not responsible for the team’s poor performances of late.

“Even this captain [Sarfraz] can produce good results with a better [team] combination or else give this combination to any captain, the problem will remain the same in Test cricket,” Rashid said.

“Unfortunately, domestic performers like Abid Ali, Usman, Saud Shakeel or Saad were not even tried and developed for the future. The players in the eyes of selection committee or the team management kept on getting frequent chances,” he added.

“We fast tracked a [promising] youngster like Shaheen Shah Afridi which is not the right approach. This performance puts a question mark on the selection committee as well as the coaching staff and the management.

“However, since the World Cup is around the corner, [major] changes presently is not advisable.

If Pakistan don’t do well in the mega event, the history will repeat itself in the name of rebuilding process,” said Rashid. “The pile of mistakes after mistakes need time and due attention for [timely] rectification.”

Rashid feels it is evident that Pakistan is in a difficult phase and noted that the 15 ODIs — against South Africa, Australia and England (five each) — prior to the World Cup are crucial.

“Pakistan also have to look for a power-hitter as no one, other than Fakhar, is in sight at the moment. Imam-ul-Haq performance will be under the scanner too.”

Published in Dawn, January 17th, 2019

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‘Electric atmosphere’: Duminy, Sammy hype up PSL’s Pakistan-leg to AB de Villiers

South African ace AB de Villiers’ decision to travel to Pakistan for the home-leg of the Pakistan Super League 2019 has earned him plaudits from his former Proteas teammates and others.

De Villiers, the top pick of last year’s draft, on Monday ,announced, that he will be visiting Pakistan in March as part of the Lahore Qalandars roster to play PSL matches at the Gaddafi Stadium.

The hard-hitting African’s decision has delighted his erstwhile national teammate and PSL 2019 champion JP Duminy, who represented Islamabad United last year but will miss the tournament’s next edition due to an injury.

“I am delighted that AB has decided to play Lahore Qalandars’ back-to-back matches at the Gaddafi Stadium on 9 and 10 March. I am sure when he takes the field, he will be amazed to see the electric atmosphere, passion and excitement in the crowds,” Duminy is ,quoted as saying, by PSL-T20.com.

“The March visit will also allow AB to sense the status and respect he commands in this part of the world, as well as the impact he has made on Pakistan cricket. These people love cricket and have tremendous respect for high-performing cricketers like AB.

“The HBL PSL is a tournament which is growing fast, and with its successful staging in Pakistan, prospects of international cricket returning to the country have also brightened.

“I am sure when AB will look back at his glittering and marvellous career, he will say with pride and satisfaction that he also played a part in the revival of international cricket in Pakistan.”

Fans will line-up in huge numbers to see AB play: Sammy

West Indies star and Peshawar Zalmi captain Darren Sammy, arguably the most popular of PSL’s foreign imports, recalled his experience of playing in Pakistan for De Villiers’ benefit.

“AB has entertained the world through his exploits,” he said. “I am glad that he has decided to show his skills in Lahore, which I am sure will be hugely appreciated by the courteous and supportive Pakistan cricket fans.

“De Villiers is a champion cricketer and I am excited for the players who will get to experience playing in Lahore with him and for the thousands of crazy Pakistan cricket fans who, I am sure, will line-up in huge numbers to see AB play.

“I played in Lahore and Karachi in 2017 and 2018 and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The excitement and enthusiasm I saw in Lahore and Karachi was second to none and it just drives home the fact that this game is what it is because of these lovely fans.

“Sadly, I will not get a chance to play against AB in Lahore but I will be watching the match on the television and I am sure we will get to see some great cricket.”

AB playing means a lot to Pakistan fans: Jordan

England fast bowler Chris Jordan, who will again represent Peshawar Zalmi, also lauded De Villiers’ decision, saying: “I am glad AB de Villiers was able to make this decision of touring Pakistan.

“The love and appreciation that we received when we played in Lahore and Karachi was beyond amazing. Pakistani fans just love their cricket and to be able to experience that is something I cherish till date and look forward to this year as well. I am sure AB will have a very similar experience.

“When you play in Pakistan, it just puts into perspective what an entire generation of their fans has missed out on and, seeing how the fans are reacting to this news, clearly it means a lot to them that AB will be playing in front of them. AB de Villiers is a great addition to this group of international cricketers who want to see international cricket return to Pakistan.”

De Villiers’ Lahore Qalandars will be in action on the opening day of PSL 2019 when they take on reigning champions Islamabad United in Dubai. The PSL 2019 starts on Feb 14 and ends in Karachi on March 17.

The 2019 edition of the PCB’s flagship product will see eight of its matches played in Pakistan – three in Lahore and five in Karachi.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - January 15, 2019 at 1:25 pm

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Tickets for PSL matches in Sharjah, Abu Dhabi available online

Tickets for the HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2019 matches in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi are now available online on ,www.q-tickets.com,, the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) official website for the tournament announced on Tuesday.

“Details about online Dubai and Pakistan leg tickets will be announced soon while box office ticket sales information for all five HBL PSL venues — Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Lahore and Karachi — will also be shared in due course,” read the announcement.

Sharjah will be the centre stage for the HBL PSL matches for the fourth successive year, since the inception of the league in 2016. The emirate will host a total of eight games, said the statement.

The fourth edition begins in Dubai on Feb 14 when defending champions Islamabad United take on Lahore Qalandars.

The first match in Sharjah will be played at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Wednesday, Feb 20, between Quetta Gladiators and Multan Sultans at 9pm (PST). Sharjah crowd favourite Peshawar Zalmi will take on Karachi Kings on Thursday, Feb 21, at the same time followed by a double-header on Friday, Feb, 22.

The league is coming to Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Stadium for the first time with a total of four matches scheduled at the venue on March 4 and 5.

Five matches ,will be played at Karachi’s National Stadium,, including the March 17 final, while Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium will play host to three matches as the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) continues to increase the number of matches in the country with every edition. Lahore hosted the final in the second edition of the league before hosting two matches last season when Karachi hosted the final.

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Australia bow out of Pakistan tour over safety concerns; PCB insists talks ongoing

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has been informed that Australia will not be coming to Pakistan for a one-day series scheduled to be held in March-April this year, The Sydney Morning Herald ,reported, on Sunday.

Pakistan is scheduled to host Australia for a five-match ODI series in the United Arab Emirates in March, and the PCB had last month ,decided to renew talks, with CA to convince them to play at least two of the matches in Pakistan.

But while not immediately committing to a Pakistan tour, Cricket Australia (CA), the governing body for the game in Australia, insisted it “remain[s] open to the idea of playing in the country again”, the publication added.

On the flip side, the PCB said it is “still waiting for a response from the CA”, stressing that discussions with them are ongoing.

According to a statement released by the PCB, the board’s chairman wrote a letter to the CA chairman on January 7. It was suggested in the letter that the CA “as part of a standard protocol and process for bilateral series” send their reconnaissance team to Pakistan so they may review Pakistan’s security arrangements via presentations before making a call about touring the country.

With the gradual return of international cricket to Pakistan, it was hoped that the Aussies —who last toured Pakistan in 1998 — could come back for “at least some of this year’s one-dayers”, the SMH reported.

Editorial: ,Cricket revival,

A CA spokesperson while indicating that Australia had safety concerns, stressed the fact that it was not backing out from playing in the country again.

“We want to see international cricket return to Pakistan — the country has a huge passion for it.

“However, the safety of our players and support staff is our number one priority and we won’t compromise that. We’ll continue to take advice from a range of government agencies and our own security intelligence and act on this accordingly.”

The spokesperson suggested that the Pakistan series would go ahead as scheduled in the UAE, but the CA could again consider the idea of playing in Pakistan in the future. “We formally advised the PCB of this position in early January,” they added.

According to SMH, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade currently advises Australians to “reconsider their need to travel to Pakistan in general, while some regions are complete no-go zones”.

The PCB has not announced the exact dates for the series as yet, which means there is a possibility that Steve Smith and David Warner, who were suspended for ball tampering, may make their international return at the end of their ban on March 29, the publication speculated.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - January 14, 2019 at 4:25 am

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Australia bow out from Pakistan tour over safety concerns; PCB insists talks ongoing

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has been informed that Australia will not be coming to Pakistan for a one-day series scheduled to be held in March-April this year, The Sydney Morning Herald ,reported, on Sunday.

Cricket Australia (CA), the governing body for the game in Australia, however “insists it is open to the idea of a return in the future”, the publication added.

On the flip side, the PCB said it is “still waiting for a response from the CA” and stressed that discussions with them are ongoing.

According to a statement released by the PCB, the board’s chairman wrote a letter to the CA chairman on January 7. It was suggested in the letter that the CA “as part of a standard protocol and process for bilateral series” send their reconnaissance team to Pakistan so they may review Pakistan’s security arrangements via presentations before making a call about touring the country.

With the gradual return of international cricket to Pakistan, it was hoped that the Aussies —who last toured Pakistan in 1998 — could come back this year for “at least some of this year’s one-dayers”, the SMH reported.

Editorial: ,Cricket revival,

A CA spokesperson while indicating that Australia had security concerns, stressed the fact that it was not backing out from playing in the country again.

“We want to see international cricket return to Pakistan — the country has a huge passion for it.

“However, the safety of our players and support staff is our number one priority and we won’t compromise that. We’ll continue to take advice from a range of government agencies and our own security intelligence and act on this accordingly.

“At this stage, from an Australia team perspective, we are not contemplating moving our current bilateral-tour arrangements from taking on Pakistan in the UAE, when they host the next series but we do remain open to the idea of playing in the country again. We formally advised the PCB of this position in early January.”

The PCB has not set the dates for the series yet, which means there is a possibility Steve Smith and David Warner, who were suspended for ball tampering, may make their international return at the end of their ban on March 29, SMH speculated.

The Aussies will be touring India prior to the Pakistan series, the Australian publication also reported. The side will play two Twenty20 internationals in late February and five one-days in the first half of March.

“The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s current advice is for Australians to reconsider their need to travel to Pakistan in general, while some regions are complete no-go zones,” the news article further stated.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - January 13, 2019 at 5:25 pm

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Bilawal pledges to combat ‘politics of vendetta’

KOTRI: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has vowed to fight the “politics of vendetta” saying he is not afraid of threats of the exit control list, National Accountability Bureau and imprisonment.

Addressing a public meeting here on Saturday after inaugurating Kotri-Jamshoro overhead bridge, he said the PPP had faced “Gen Zia’s lashes and Gen Musharraf’s prisons and exile” and it was not afraid of the incumbent “puppet and benami prime minister”.

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, PPP provincial president Nisar Khuhro and MPA Malik Asad Sikandar also spoke on the occasion.

PPP leader warns PTI govt against testing patience of jiyalas

Mr Bhutto-Zardari said if the people of Sindh, Balochistan, southern Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa decided to “take on Islamabad” to secure their rights and protest against deprivation, it would prove to be the last nail in the coffin of the “fake government”.

He warned the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government against testing patience of PPP jiyalas, saying if it didn’t refrain from it, the PPP would show it how “theft of vote” was avenged.

He said the PPP preferred service delivery like construction of bridges over the River Indus, canal lining, road networks, subsidy to farmers and provision of employment in Thar and quality cardiac care services.

He said the “selected prime minister” and the Punjab chief minister could not compete with the Sindh chief minister.

“Your plan to oust us through conspiracies has failed and you will fail again,” he said while addressing PM Imran Khan.

He said an inept federal government was meting out step-motherly treatment to the people of Sindh who were being punished for voting for the PPP.

He said Imran Khan needed to learn principles of politics before talking about principled politics and added that the finger of umpire worked in cricket and the people’s will in politics.

He accused the PTI of making false promises and fraudulent claims and said Pakistan was heading backwards under its government. “The national economy remains weak and people are drowning in the tsunami of price hike while mills and shops are being closed.”

The PPP leader said poor people didn’t have two square meals a day because their sources of livelihood had been snatched.

He said those who talked about providing 10 million jobs and five million houses to people had snatched from them already available job opportunities and deprived them of shelter.

“Pakistan does not have electricity, gas and investment but the federal ministers are claiming there is no price hike and advising people to be patient. The eyes of the ministers are closed with arrogance and minds intoxicated with power while their hearts are insensitive”, he said.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari accused the government of closing water and electricity supplies to Sindh which contributed 80pc of gas produced in Pakistan.

He said billions of rupees of the Sindh government had been withheld which badly affected development process.

He asked for what crime the people of Sindh were being pushed against wall and then answered his question, saying because they did not vote for “puppets” and were loyal to the Bhuttos.

He said the government didn’t know how the rupee got devalued and the wheels of economy got jammed although it claimed to be working faster than light’s speed.

“The government doesn’t know how the debt of Rs5bn has increased but those who said they preferred suicide over the begging bowl are now celebrating foreign borrowings”.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari said the federal government had tried to commit robbery over the mandate of Sindh in just three months but got only disappointment and shelved the plan.

CM Shah said the Kotri-Jamshoro bridge had been completed in a record period of time and urged Mr Bhutto-Zardari to take up the issue of dualisation of Indus Highway between Jamshoro and Sehwan in the National Assembly.

Earlier, Mr Bilawal-Bhutto visited residence of Asad Sikandar during which shops of the area were closed by the administration. He also took tea at the residence of MPA Hina Dastagir.

Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2019

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India suspend Pandya, Rahul over ‘inappropriate’ comments on women

India on Friday suspended all-rounder Hardik Pandya and batsman Lokesh Rahul over comments made about women on TV chat show Koffee with Karan and could force them to leave the team’s Australia tour, a cricket board source told AFP.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has told the team management that the duo will not play in at least the first of three one-day internationals in Sydney on Saturday while a full inquiry is launched.

“Both Pandya and Rahul have been suspended pending an inquiry over their misogynist[ic] remarks in a TV chat show,” the source said.

Both could be ordered back to India, the source added, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of an official announcement.

Pandya, who was in the squad that beat Australia for the first time in an away Test series, boasted on the TV chat show, about his success with multiple women.

Rahul was on the show at the same time and watched his teammate’s bragging that sparked outrage on social media.

During the episode, Pandya is asked by Karan Johar why he doesn’t remember the names of the women he meets at nightclubs, in response to which he said: “I like to watch and observe how they move. I’m little from the Black side so I need to see how they move.”

He also shared that he openly identifies the women he sleeps with to his parents: “At a party my parents asked me acha tera wala (women) kaun sa hai (Which are your women)? I said yeh, yeh, yeh (pointing out women) and they were like ‘Waah, proud of you beta‘,” Pandya claimed.

Pandya, 25, has ,apologised for his conduct,, but BCCI administrator Vinod Rai has suggested a two-match ban for both players.

Diana Edulji, former India women’s captain who is part of a Supreme Court appointed committee overseeing BCCI affairs, said on Friday the duo should not play until an investigation is complete.

Skipper Virat Kohli distanced himself from the controversy earlier on Friday, saying the team does not support any “inappropriate” comments.

“From the Indian cricket team point of view, any inappropriate comments that are made in that scenario are something that we definitely don’t support,” he said.

Kohli added that the two players “have understood the magnitude of what’s happened”.

“Definitely it has to hit hard, they will definitely understand the things that have not gone right.”

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - January 11, 2019 at 9:25 pm

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‘Thank you for the warm welcome’: Kaka, Figo kick off World Soccer Stars 2019 in Karachi

Football legends Ricardo Kaka and Luis Figo arrived in Karachi on Thursday to officially kick off World Soccer Stars 2019 in the country.

Speaking at a ceremony at Karachi’s Pearl Continental Hotel, Figo — who came on stage holding a bat — said: “I feel a warm welcome from everybody; there is great passion for football [in Pakistan].”

Football legends Kaka and Luis Figo speak at a ceremony in Karachi. ? DawnNewsTV

Football legends Kaka and Luis Figo speak at a ceremony in Karachi. ? DawnNewsTV

“We’ll come with 10 legends in April to play a match,” he said, inviting Pakistan football coach Jose Antonio Nogueira on to the stage.

Kaka thanked people for the warm welcome, saying it was his first visit to Pakistan. “I have a great impression of this country and its people.”

A number of sportsmen, including Pakistan captain Saddam Hussain and midfielder Saadullah, as well as media personalities attended the event. Hussain brought Pakistan’s football jersey for Kaka and Figo. “It will be an honor for me if they accept my gift,” he said.

When a reporter pointed out to the host that the captain hadn’t been called on to the stage, Hussain joined Figo and Kaka and presented the Pakistan jersey, thanking the duo for coming to Pakistan.

Figo was asked whether he supported Real Madrid or Barcelona. “It’s an easy question; I’m a member of Real Madrid.”

When asked which of the two Ronaldos — Cristiano or the Brazilian footballer — was better, Figo chose not to compare the two. “Normally I don’t compare players because of different styles. And if you choose one, it seems the other is not important. I have played with both. I can’t choose one.”

Figo said his advice to aspiring footballers was to work hard. “It’s important that the government creates opportunities.”

Kaka acknowledged that football was not as popular as cricket in Pakistan. “But we think the door is opening.
The advice is to keep dreaming and run after your dream. A lot of people don’t do that,” he added.

Answering a question regarding opening football academies in Pakistan, Kaka said he has a small project that he is starting in Brazil. “If it works, then we will bring the project to Pakistan as well.”

Earlier, the event’s host Bilal ashraf introduced TouchSky Group CEO Ahmer Kunwar, who said Figo and Kaka have made a commitment to bring authentic international football to Pakistan.

“It won’t be easy but we’re here to tell you that football can come to Pakistan,” said Ahmer. “We have begun a journey from 10 different parts of the world.”

At the end of the event, it was announced that American musician Akon will be visiting Pakistan soon.

Welcomed in Karachi

The former Real Madrid superstars arrived in the port city in the afternoon. They tweeted a message for Pakistani fans prior to boarding their Karachi-bound flight.

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They had ,announced, their planned visit of Pakistan last week through video snippets.

“It’s excited to see another emerging country in Asia embrace football,” Figo had said in a video announcement of his visit to Pakistan. “I’m certain in a population of 220 million there must be huge potential waiting to emerge into the international scene.”

“I am delighted to visit Pakistan and play an instrumental role in promoting and helping football in the country. I have never been to Pakistan so I am really excited to come and play football whilst helping unearth hidden talent,” said Kaka, who retired from professional football in 2017.

The duo are being brought by TouchSky Group, a UK-based player and event management company, which also brought Ronaldinho and several others stars to the country in 2017 in another exhibition event.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - January 10, 2019 at 12:26 pm

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Junaid Khan axed as Inzamam announces ODI squad for South Africa series

Fast bowler Junaid Khan was the main casualty as Pakistan’s squad for the upcoming five-match ODI series against South Africa was announced on Wednesday.

“Junaid Khan has not been considered for this tour because we feel he has to work more on his bowling since the fitness issues that had cut short his series against New Zealand,” chief selector Inzamam explained.

All-rounder Asif Ali has also been axed, with Inzamam saying: “Asif Ali has been dropped due to inconsistent and below-par performances. In his place, we have decided to give Hussain Talat an opportunity to show his mettle and skills. He is a good left-handed batsman, who can also bowl.”

Commenting on the continued non-selection of pacer Mohammad Abbas in the ODI squad, the chief selector said: “He is very much in our scheme of things, but we have to manage his workload intelligently and smartly. He has just made a return following an injury, and we would like to give him sufficient rest before considering him for future assignments.”

The 16-member team is vastly different from the Test side, which is currently in Johannesburg preparing for the third and final match.

The list does not include Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Haris Sohail, Abbas and Yasir Shah but features Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Hussain Talat, Usman Shinwari and Imad Wasim.

“The selected team is a unanimous choice of the selection panel, including Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed and Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur,” Inzamam said adding, “While selecting the squad, we have tried to maintain consistency, taking into consideration player performances in white-ball cricket as well as looking ahead to the upcoming ODI challenges, including the World Cup.”

The chief selector said he was hopeful that the ODI squad would fare better than the Test roster brushed aside by South African in the ongoing Test series.

“I have had separate discussions with the coach and captain, and while they are disappointed with the performance in the Test series, they remain optimistic and confident that they can turn things around,” Inzamam said.

The ODI series, which starts January 19 and ends on January 30, will be followed by a T20 series, the squad for which is yet to be announced.

Full squad:

Sarfraz Ahmed (captain, wicketkeeper), Babar Azam, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Hasan Ali, Hussain Talat, Imad Wasim, Imamul Haq, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Shan Masood, Shoaib Malik, Usman Shinwari

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Anchorperson Shahid Masood petitions top court for bail in PTV case

Anchorperson Shahid Masood on Wednesday petitioned the Supreme court to procure bail in a ,case pertaining to the embezzlement of Rs38 million from state-run broadcaster Pakistan Television,.

On December 23 last year, Masood was arrested from the court by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) after the IHC dismissed his petition.

According to the FIA, Dr Masood — during his tenure as managing director and chairman of PTV — was involved in the ,embezzlement of Rs37 million, in acquiring Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) media rights in 2008. Allegedly, the agreement was carried out with a fake company — M/s International Sports Solution (ISS). The investigators claim that funds were also released, causing the loss of millions of dollars to PTV as the state-run television channel failed to acquire PCB media rights from 2008 to 2013.

Masood, in his petition, said that he is an analyst and a critic of governmental policies. “My blunt analysis has always made me a target of governmental institutions,” the anchor said in his petition.

“FIA had shut the case but then it was reopened in 2015. Suspects Kashif Rabbani, Fawad Shabbir and Roshan Gilani are all facing trial and have also started paying back the embezzled amount,” he added.

The anchor further accused the FIA of harassing him and not being able to come up with any proof against him.
“They used my inability to leave the country as a means to obtain arrest warrants [for me],” Masood said in the petition.

Masood added that the IHC rejected his bail without clearly looking at the facts of the case as his name “was not mentioned in the first investigation report”.

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8 matches of PSL 2019 to be played in Pakistan, final to be held in Karachi

The last eight matches of the total 34 matches of Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2019, will be played in Pakistan — with three in Lahore and five in Karachi, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) revealed on Friday while announcing the schedule for the fourth edition of the cricket league through a press release.

The final is set to held on March 17, 2019 in Karachi.

The schedule was also shared by the franchise on Twitter.

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The matches set to be held in Karachi will be played at the city’s National Stadium while the matches in Lahore will be played at the Gaddafi Stadium.

The tournament will kick-off with an opening match in Dubai on Feb 14, between defending champions Islamabad United and the sixth-ranked team, formerly Multan Sultans, whose ,contract was terminated by the Board, due to their inability to meet their financial obligations under the PSL agreement.

In addition to the matches scheduled to be played domestically, 14 matches will be played at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai, four at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi and eight matches at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in Sharjah.

“The PCB believes the HBL PSL is a gateway to resumption of international cricket in Pakistan. By successfully staging eight matches in Lahore and Karachi with the support of the local authorities, the PCB is optimistic that it will once again prove to the world that Pakistan is as safe and secure a place as any other part of the world to play international cricket,” the press release stated.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - December 14, 2018 at 5:25 pm

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PM Khan congratulates Yasir Shah on ‘stellar’ record-breaking performance

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday congratulated leg-spinner Yasir Shah on breaking an 82-year-old world record in cricket, becoming the first bowler to take 200 Test wickets in 33 matches.

The 32-year-old ,broke the record, held by Australian leg-spinner Clarrie Grimmett ? who took 200 wickets in 36 Test matches in 1936 against South Africa in Johannesburg ? on the fourth day of the third Test against New Zealand on Thursday.

“Congratulations to Yasir Shah,” the premier tweeted. “Last week he had equalled my record of 14 wickets in a Test match. Stellar performance.”

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Yasir, whose 14 wickets helped Pakistan level the series 1-1 in Dubai, now has 27 wickets in the three Tests against New Zealand.

Yasir was also the fastest Pakistani to 50 wickets (nine Tests). He reached 100 wickets in 17 Tests — second only to Englishman George Lohmann who took 16 matches during a Test in Johannesburg in 1896.

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Yasir Shah breaks 82-year-old world record, becomes fastest bowler to bag 200 Test wickets

Leg-spinner Yasir Shah on Thursday became the fastest cricketer to take 200 Test wickets, breaking an 82-year-old record on the fourth day of the third Test against New Zealand.

The 32-year-old trapped nightwatchman Will Somerville leg before for four — his second wicket of the New Zealand second innings — to reach the milestone in his 33rd Test, beating Australian leg-spinner Clarrie Grimmett’s record of 36 Tests achieved against South Africa in Johannesburg in 1936.

Yasir, whose 14 wickets helped Pakistan level the series 1-1 in Dubai, now has 27 wickets in the three Tests against New Zealand.

His 14 for 184 were the second best match figures in a Test for Pakistan, behind former captain and current prime minister of Pakistan Imran Khan, who bagged 14 for 116 against Sri Lanka in Lahore in 1982.

New Zealand, resuming at 26 for 2 on Thursday, fell to 37 for 3 after Yasir removed Somerville and were still
needing 37 runs to make Pakistan bat again.

Yasir began the Abu Dhabi Test with 195 wickets in 32 Tests and on the opening day grabbed three early wickets but BJ Watling resisted with 77 not out, leaving him having to complete his landmark in the second innings.

Since taking seven wickets on debut against Australia in 2014, Yasir has been a key figure in Pakistan’s Test team.

He took 12 wickets in that 2-0 series win over Australia in United Arab Emirates in 2014 and followed that with 15 against New Zealand in a 1-1 draw the same year.

That was followed by 24 wickets against Sri Lanka in 2015 and 10 in a match to beat England at Lord’s a year later. He took 21 and 25 wickets respectively in series wins over the West Indies.

Yasir was also the fastest Pakistani to 50 wickets (nine Tests), reached 100 wickets in 17 Tests — second only to Englishman George Lohmann who took 16 matches during a Test in Johannesburg in 1896.

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Mohammad Hafeez feels ‘time is up’, announces retirement from Test cricket

Struggling Pakistan opener Mohammad Hafeez said on Tuesday he was retiring from Test cricket after the ongoing third and final match against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi.

The 38-year-old has managed just 66 runs in seven innings since scoring a hundred against Australia in Dubai last month following his recall to five-day cricket.

The Abu Dhabi Test is Hafeez’s 55th since making his debut against Bangladesh in Karachi in 2003. He has so far scored 3,644 runs with 10 centuries and 12 half centuries.

“I feel time is up,” said Hafeez. “I am announcing my retirement and feel happy that I worked hard in my career.”

A few months back Hafeez had decided to announce his retirement from cricket but wife Nazia and former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar ,stepped in to persuade him, he still had a role to play.

Hafeez was dropped from the Test side after faring poorly in the first three matches of Pakistan’s series in England two years ago, before being recalled for series against Australia in October.

He celebrated his recall with a century in the first Test against Australia in October and later revealed that his wife had persuaded him not to quit the sport.

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Yasir seeks landmark as Pakistan, NZ clash in decider

ABU DHABI: Leg-spinner Yasir Shah is set to become the fastest to reach 200 Test wickets as he holds the key for Pakistan to win the series-deciding third and final Test against New Zealand starting in Abu Dhabi from Monday.

The 32-year-old needs just five wickets to shatter Australian leg-spinner Clarrie Grimmett’s record of completing 200 wickets in 36 Tests, way back in 1936.

That will be icing on the cake as Pakistan hope Yasir — whose ,14-wicket match haul crushed New Zealand, to an innings and 16 run defeat in the second Test in Dubai — can come good again.

Yasir took eight wickets in the first Test here at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium but Pakistan fell agonisingly short, losing by four runs before levelling the series at 1-1.

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed agreed hopes are pinned on Yasir, who has 195 wickets in 32 Tests.

“The way Yasir is bowling he has got his rhythm back and we hope that with the return of his form he will do his best to win us this Test and the series,” Sarfraz told a media conference on Sunday.

Until last year the Sheikh Zayed Stadium had been a happy hunting ground for Pakistan, having won six of the 10 Tests with four draws. But since then they lost to Sri Lanka in 2017 and against New Zealand in the series opener after set low targets of 136 and 176 runs respectively, a fact Sarfraz said hurt his team.

“We need to bat long and that we did in the last Test,” said Sarfraz whose team put a big 418-5 declared in Dubai. “The toss will again be a crucial factor because in Asia teams like to bat first and post big totals.”

Besides Yasir, Pakistan will also hope fast-rising left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi gives them edge, replacing seamer Moham­mad Abbas who is ruled out with a shoulder injury.

The 18-year-old speedster took back-to-back four wicket hauls in the 1-1 drawn One-day International series against New Zealand last month before getting seven wickets against England Lions in the four-day unofficial Test, which was played at the adjacent Sheikh Zayed Stadium Nursery 1 ground.

“Shaheen is improving day by day and has talent,” said Sarfraz of the teenager who is a giant six and a half feet tall.

Pakistan are mulling the option of playing a third paceman after naming Faheem Ashraf — the all-rounder who has yet to play a Test in the UAE — in the 12-man squad on Sunday with off-spinner Bilal Asif the likely omission after having claimed just two wickets in 56 overs across the first two Tests against New Zealand.

Sarfraz admitted that New Zealand can be dangerous as they have the motivation to win an away series against Pakistan for the first time since 1969-70.

“New Zealand is a good team with experienced players who know Test cricket well,” the Pakistan captain pointed out. “They have good bowlers so we will also try to play good cricket.”

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson, meanwhile, admitted Yasir will be a dangerous proposition for his side.

“He [Yasir] is a world class bowler and there’s no doubt about his status,” Williamson told reporters. “He clearly had a fantastic last game and bowled a number of very nice deliveries and used the conditions really, really well.”

New Zealand will gain confidence from their second innings batting with return to form of veteran righter Ross Taylor who made 81 and the left-handers Henry Nicholls (77) and Tom Latham (50).

“There were some positives [from the second Test] we would need to build from,” said Williamson of his team’s 312 all out in the second innings. “It’s really an exciting prospect and the guys really are looking forward to the decider.”

New Zealand have the option of resting Trent Boult and bringing in Tim Southee or Matt Henry, both of whom have yet to play in the series.

Teams (from):

PAKISTAN: Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Imam-ul-Haq, Azhar Ali, Haris Sohail, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Yasir Shah, Bilal Asif, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Faheem Ashraf.

NEW ZEALAND: Kane Williamson (captain), Jeet Raval, Tom Blundell, Tom Latham, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, B.J. Watling, Colin de Grandhomme, Ish Sodhi, Neil Wagner, Ajaz Patel, Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Matt Henry, Will Somerville.

Umpires: Ian Gould (England) and Paul Reiffel (Australia).

TV umpire: Bruce Oxenford (Australia).

Match referee: Javagal Srinath (India).

Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2018

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PM Khan puts greater focus on ‘future plans’ in 100-day review speech

Prime Minister Imran Khan put a greater focus on his government’s plans ahead rather than analyse the tasks already accomplished, at a special event held at the Jinnah Convention Centre in Islamabad on Thursday to review his first 100 days in power.

Khan, who was the last of an assortment of speakers at the event attended by government functionaries, began by thanking First Lady Bushra Bibi for putting up with his tough schedule, adding that “I have taken just a single day off in the first 100 days”.

He said the policies adopted by his government in the first century of days in power were inspired by the state of Madina.

Read: ,First 100 Days Of PTI In Government – Performance Report,

“In Madina, Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) adopted policies that were based on compassion; all policies were made for the poor,” he said. “The tax system of Zakat was established where money was collected from the rich and redistributed to the downtrodden.”

PM Khan delivers his speech. — DawnNewsTV

PM Khan delivers his speech. — DawnNewsTV

A major contributing factor to the “downtrodden’s” plight, the prime minister said, is corruption, and explained why he took a hardened stance against the practice.

“The difference between developed and underdeveloped countries is corruption,” he said. “We have so many assets but we are still behind, and our institutions are in shambles — all because of corruption.

“I did not know the extent of theft and corruption until I came to power. Every day something new comes up.”


Among the measures taken by the government in its first 100 days, the PM said, were:

  • Strengthened the FIA to curb money laundering

  • Signed agreements with 26 countries [to share information and recover assets]

  • Created a task force to improve the situation of government hospitals

  • Recovered Rs350 billion worth of land as part of the anti-encroachment drive

  • Lodged FIRs against bigwigs involved in power theft

  • Allotted land to build shelters for poor people in Rawalpindi and Lahore


The prime minister dedicated a sizable portion of his speech outlining his future plans, saying: “Four million children will be provided nourishment in order to reduce stunted growth, whereas the Benazir Income Support Programme will be expanded.”

PM Khan vowed to equip farmers with modern technology.

“Small farmers are left behind because they do not have the technology, knowledge and money,” he said. “We have to provide them the latest machinery and subsidies so they can purchase [latest] machinery.”

The premier said that Pakistan’s fisheries exports are “non-existent despite water resources”, adding that “a private party has done a pilot project through which shrimp farming can be done”.

He also floated the idea of “caged fishing, especially in Balochistan” which he said has “so much potential; we can export as well”.

Regarding the water crisis, PM Khan offered a “low-cost and quick” solution.

“Bhasha Dam will take time as it’s a huge project,” he said. “We found out that if we retain water in canals etc, it will conserve more water.”

PM Khan labelled the “nationalisation of industries in the 1970s” a “wrong decision”, stressing the importance of the creation of wealth in growing economies.

“Investments cannot come until investors make money,” he explained. “People must be given a chance to make money.”

The prime minister talked up Pakistan’s geographical location and population demographics, which he said make the country an attractive market for foreign investors.

He urged the expansion of the tax net, explaining that low tax collection leads to inflation. “How is it that only 72,000 people show their income above Rs200,000?” he wondered.

PM Khan said that Pakistan’s tourism industry has great potential, adding that a task force has been formed to promote the country’s religious and ecological tourism.

The prime minister gave an overview of the planned legal forms, for which he credited Law Minister Farogh Naseem.

As part of the reforms, he said, “civil courts will have to decide cases within a year and a half”.

“Legal aid authority will provide legal help to people who cannot afford to hire one,” he vowed.

PM Khan said he “is aware that our salaried class is under pressure” due to inflation but assured that “I am doing whatever i can to [take you out of this problem].”

Earlier, Senator Faisal Javed had formally opened the event with a brief intro before making way for recitation of the Holy Quran.

Minutes later, the senator reclaimed the rostrum before a video highlight of the prime minister and the federal government’s first 100 days in power was played for the audience.

PM took a U-turn on my advice: Umar

Finance Minister Asad Umar delivers his speech. — DawnNewsTV

Finance Minister Asad Umar delivers his speech. — DawnNewsTV

Finance Minister Asad Umar used a cricketing analogy to describe his job, saying “I was sent in to bat when the ball was swinging and seaming both.

“I get asked whether I am scared but I have not been unsure even for a single minute” that the party manifesto will be implemented.

The finance minister said that the PTI government “inherited a deficit of S2 billion” which he said has already been “reduced by S1bn”.

Umar explained the government’s decision to also seek alternate channels instead of solely relying on the International Monetary Fund to plug the financing gap.

“Economists are asking me why I did not just close my eyes and sign IMF contract,” he said. “We will not hide behind the IMF. If we [sign a deal], we will do so on our terms, and we will not lie to the people even if the truth is bitter.”

The minister revealed that it was upon his advice that the PM reneged on his promise to not travel abroad in the first 100 days.

“I take credit for telling the PM that ‘you will have take a U-turn on your promise to not travel for 100 days because this was in favour of the country.’” he recalled. “So he agreed and toured different countries.”

Umar defended his taxation and pricing policies, explaining that the tariffs were hiked only of those commodities that are used by the affluent section of the society.

“I am not saying that all problems have been solved and Pakistanis are not facing any problems but in the past 100 days we have set the direction.”

Foreign Minister Qureshi talks of ‘improvement in international relations’

Foreign Minister Qureshi delivers his speech. — DawnNewsTV

Foreign Minister Qureshi delivers his speech. — DawnNewsTV

Speaking on Pakistan’s international relations, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that Pakistan’s case at global level was not heard before — something he said his ministry was trying to address.

“Our neighbour wanted to weaken Pakistan,” he said. “We could not present Pakistan’s case before the world because we did not have a lawyer.

“We decided that we would make our foreign office more interactive and started cultural diplomacy. We decided to take guidance and advice from former diplomats. We will also create a specialised foreign office, [and appoint] trained personnel.

“You will be happy to know that in 100 days we have had 16 multilateral engagements.”

The foreign minister said that the first thing on the PTI government’s foreign agenda was to have better relations with Afghanistan.

Qureshi also discussed Pakistan’s bilateral relations with India, saying: “Tensions with India are not hidden from anyone but our approach is people-centric and we need peace for people to prosper. We need peace in order to speed up the development of our country.

He reminded the audience that “Imran khan said he will take two steps for every 1 step India takes” but regretted that “they refused to engage even after the letter written to Narendra Modi”.

PTI did in 100 days what others did not in 10 years: PM’s adviser

Mohammad Shahzad Arbab, the PM’s Adviser on Establishment, was the first speaker of the event.

“I remember when we talked about the 100-day agenda, our friends had warned us that we were setting a trap and creating difficulties for ourselves,” he said. “I admit that they were right but we wanted to rise above political point scoring.”

The adviser to the PM reminded the audience that the PM’s 100-day agenda was about setting the direction of the government.

Arbab claimed that the PTI government “held regular cabinet meetings, adopted austerity and held itself accountable”.

“We have posted our performance on our website so people can give their feedback,” he said, adding: “Thirty-four promises were related to reforms [of which] we have completed 18 successfully. Work on the rest is underway.

“When we say these plans are ‘complete’ we mean that they are ready for launch.”

The adviser to the PM recounted the measures taken by the federal government in several sectors, including repatriation of laundered wealth, local government reforms and economic steps to boost the local industries.

Arbab shed light on the government’s flagship housing scheme, which he said “would create homes for the poor and also create jobs”.

The adviser claimed that “the business circle has welcomed our decision to separate tax collection from the FBR”.

He touched upon the progress made on a variety of PTI promises, including “social reforms, water policy, primary education as well as the 10 billion tree tsunami plan”.

Arbab discussed the government’s measures on the education front, including the planned conversion of the PM House into a university.

The adviser also talked about the promises which he said remain incomplete thus far, including the formation of a new province for the south Punjab region.

He, however, said that the party remains committed to the cause and will soon “form a separate secretariat” for south Punjab.

Arbab gave an update on the KP-Fata merger, saying that the development plans for tribal areas are close to being finalised.

The adviser termed Balochistan as “Pakistan’s backbone” and assured that measures are being taken to end the province’s “feeling of alienation”.

Arbab claimed that “in 100 days we have achieved what they [past governments] did not in past 10 years”.

“In the past, parties would forget their agenda after coming into power. In my 36 years of service, I have not seen the dedication with which this government has worked towards its agenda.”

PM Khan is going to make some important announcements during the ceremony, according to Radio Pakistan, and take the nation into confidence over the government’s achievements.

While opposition parties are ,terming the 100-day performance of the government, as “unimpressive, ridiculous and full of lies and U-turns”, the ruling party leaders are boasting the period with “remarkable achievements”, claiming that the country has been put on the right track.

Some three months before the July 25 general elections, PTI chairman Imran Khan had ,unveiled his party’s ambitious “agenda”, outlining the party’s commitments for starting work within the first 100 days of forming government after the polls.

Read: ,Jury out on PTI’s performance amid claims, counterclaims,

The salient features of the agenda were expeditious merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, bifurcation of Punjab and reconciliation with estranged Baloch leaders.

The 100-day agenda also contained a plan for introducing a development package for Karachi and a programme for alleviation of poverty, besides a number of steps for improvement of economy.

Presenting the salient points of the economic policy of the PTI government, Asad Umar, now finance minister, had promised that the government would create 10 million jobs, revive manufacturing, rapidly grow small and medium enterprises sector, facilitate private sector to build five million houses, reform tax administration and transform state-owned-enterprises.

Explore: ,Imran unveils ambitious agenda for first 100 days of govt,

Later, speaking at the first formal press conference after the elections and before assuming the charge as finance minister, Umar had said that offering any relief or subsidy to the people during first 100 days was like giving lollipops. He said the first 100 days would also not see a decision that would change the destiny of the nation, but a clear direction on what “we promised and where we are headed for stock-taking”.

The opposition parties allege that the government has totally failed to deliver at almost all the fronts, particularly economy and law and order situation. According to the opposition, the government has not done its homework properly.

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‘We want civilised ties with India’: PM Khan lays foundation stone for long-awaited Kartarpur corridor

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday performed the groundbreaking of the long-awaited corridor connecting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur area of Narowal district to Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Gurdaspur district.

A large number of Sikh yatris ? both local and Indian ? along with Indian Minister for Food Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Minister for Housing Hardeep S. Puri, Indian Punjab Minister of Local Government, Tourism, Cultural Affairs, and Museums Navjot Singh Sidhu, and Indian journalists and foreign diplomats attended the ceremony.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed, Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi, Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri and Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa were also in attendance.

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Facilities to be introduced for Sikh pilgrims

At the start of the event, the attendees were briefed about the measures that will be undertaken to facilitate Sikh pilgrims seeking to visit the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib.

The government announced that it aimed to open the four-kilometre-long visa-free corridor on Baba Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary next year.

In the first phase of the project, set to be completed before Nov 2019, a boarding terminal will be set up near the border. Transportation will be arranged to shuttle pilgrims possessing a special permit to the gurdwara. An 800-metre-long bridge will also be built across the River Ravi for this purpose. Moreover, accommodation facilities for 10,000 pilgrims will also be arranged in this phase.

From left: PM Imran Khan, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Indian Minister for Food Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Indian Punjab Minister of Local Government, Tourism, Cultural Affairs, and Museums Navjot Singh Sidhu, Indian Minister for Housing Hardeep S. Puri at the groundbreaking ceremony. ? DawnNewsTV

From left: PM Imran Khan, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Indian Minister for Food Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Indian Punjab Minister of Local Government, Tourism, Cultural Affairs, and Museums Navjot Singh Sidhu, Indian Minister for Housing Hardeep S. Puri at the groundbreaking ceremony. ? DawnNewsTV

In the second phase, hotels and other accommodation facilities will be constructed to house pilgrims arriving with visas. A 300-metre track starting from the border will be built for pilgrims carrying special permits, after which a 4.5km road will also be constructed from the border terminal to the gurdwara. From there, pilgrims will be able to travel by foot or in cars.

The border terminal will have immigration, parking and medical facilities, a tuck shop, a souvenir shop and other amenities.

After receiving their permits, special transport will take the pilgrims to a parking area near the gurdwara. Security posts will be set up to ensure the safety of pilgrims. When the pilgrims reach the parking, biometric verification of their identities will be conducted, and then they will be able to enter the gurdwara premises and worship freely within the specified time.

Indian Member of Parliament Gurjeet Singh Aujla (C) holds a pot containing water from the Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar as he takes part in a groundbreaking ceremony for the Kartarpur corridor. ? AFP

Indian Member of Parliament Gurjeet Singh Aujla (C) holds a pot containing water from the Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar as he takes part in a groundbreaking ceremony for the Kartarpur corridor. ? AFP

The facilities available will also include a place to worship, food arrangements, a library, a souvenir shop and a flower shop.

The pilgrims who have been issued visas and are travelling from India via the Wagah border or from other countries to the Lahore and Sialkot airports will reach the gurdwara through predetermined routes. A separate parking area will be created for those pilgrims.

Pakistani Sikh yatris will need to carry travel documents and identification in order to enter the gurdwara premises.

All arrangements will be made for the safe and timely return of pilgrims, who will exit after showing their permits and going through biometric verification. They will then be transported to the border terminal via special transportation and, after returning their permits, will be able to return to the Indian side either by foot or their own transport.

‘Pakistan will celebrate 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak’

Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri addresses the ceremony. ? DawnNewsTV

Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri addresses the ceremony. ? DawnNewsTV

Religious Affairs Minister Noorul Haq Qadri addressed the ceremony first, beginning his speech by greeting the prime minister, the Indian delegation and all those attending.

“Today we are at an important point in history,” Qadri said. “This is where he left the world. I am referring to Baba Guru Nanak,” he said, adding that the religious leader spread the message of unity (tauhid), love, peace and humanity.

“The Kartarpur gurdwara will be made into a state-of-the-art gurdwara,” he said.

“Next year in November, a year from now, on the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak, the Pakistani government and the people will celebrate in a grand manner,” he announced.

According to ,Radio Pakistan,, Qadri said, “Pakistan is the safest country for minorities and protects the religious sites of all communities.”

Qadri stressed that only talks can lead to the resolution of outstanding issues.

‘Religion should be separate from politics’

Punjab Minister of Local Government Singh Sidhu addresses the Kartarpur corridor groundbreaking ceremony. ?AP

Punjab Minister of Local Government Singh Sidhu addresses the Kartarpur corridor groundbreaking ceremony. ?AP

Former cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu took the stage amid loud applause and cheering and delivered a speech mostly in Punjabi.

He was of the opinion that religion should be kept separate from terrorism and politics. “India’s Constitution says there will be no discrimination on the basis of caste or creed. Baba Guru Nanak said this 549 years ago,” he said.

The minister said that there had been enough bad blood between both countries and that the corridor would be a major opportunity to open the doors to the hearts of people. He said the governments of Pakistan and India are equally appreciable for facilitating the realisation of the dreams of over 120 million Sikhs around the world.

Sidhu said that if the borders between both countries opened, it would be possible to transport goods to different parts of Pakistan and even others countries.

“This is my hope, this is my dream … While there is blood in my veins, I will continue to thank both governments,” he said.

‘Never thought I would be here’

Indian Minister for Food Harsimrat Kaur Badal addresses the ceremony. ? DawnNewsTV

Indian Minister for Food Harsimrat Kaur Badal addresses the ceremony. ? DawnNewsTV

Indian Minister for Food Harsimrat Kaur Badal also addressed the attendees with an emotional speech.

Guru Nanak spent his last years on the other side of the border, just four kilometres away, she said, adding that at times the chanting of devotees can be heard on the Indian side of the border.

“We have been so close, but so far for past 70 years,” she said. “Scores of Sikhs are on this journey for the first time today.”

“I have no friends, no relatives here [in Pakistan]. I never thought I would be here,” she said.

“When we laid the foundation stone [for the corridor] in Indian Punjab, I saw the corridor becoming a reality there and now I am seeing it here.”

Badal said the wall of hatred between Pakistan and India can also fall as the Berlin Wall fell. She said the groundbreaking will prove to be a blessing for everyone.

“Today this corridor will bring everyone together … It will bring joy and peace to both countries. I beseech you … to issue postage stamps or coins to commemorate Guru Nanak,” she said.

‘Need more steps for regional peace’

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi welcomed Sikh brothers and sisters attending the ceremony.

“The light that Guru Nanak brought with him will remain forever … We are here at this historic area where Baba Guru Nanak spent his last 18 years in worship.”

“Today we are laying a foundation stone for the Kartarpur corridor and fulfilling the wishes of our Sikh community,” he said.

The foreign minister recalled Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s August 11, 1947 speech, quoting him as saying: “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State.”

“The whole world has welcomed the decision to open the Kartarpur corridor on the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak,” he said, adding that although deliberations on the matter were ongoing for a while, it was delayed due to ups and downs in Pak-India ties.

“We need more steps like this for peace in the South Asian region,” he said.

‘We want civilised ties with India’

Prime Minister Imran Khan appreciated the joy on the faces around him. “Today I want to welcome all our guests, our Sikh brothers and sisters who have come from all around the world.”

“The happiness I see in you today, if I were to explain to my Muslim brother and sisters, is that imagine that you are standing 4km outside Madina and cannot go in, and you are then given the chance to go. That is the happiness I see here.”

“We will keep improving the Kartarpur darbar for you,” he told Sikh pilgrims. “We will keep giving you facilities … When you come next year, we will provide you with every sort of facility,” he said.

“Where Pakistan and India stand today, we have seen such a situation for 70 years now,” PM Khan said. “We will stay stuck this way unless we break the shackles of the past and stop blaming each other. There have been mistakes on both sides.”

“We should not live in the past. It should be used to learn lessons,” he asserted.

“We still do not have the resolve to decide that, no matter what, we must improve our ties,” the premier said. “France and Germany, who have fought so many wars, are now peacefully living as neighbours. They have trade ties despite killing thousands of each other’s people. But one day their leaders decided that we will break their shackles and they did.”

“Pakistan and India have not been able to benefit from the opportunities Allah has given us. Whenever I visited India for conferences, I was told that Pakistani politicians are united, but the army won’t allow friendship,” he claimed.

“I am saying today, that our political leaders, our army, and all other institutions are all on one page. We wish to move forward, we want a civilised relationship. We have just one problem, Kashmir. If a man can walk on the moon, what problems are there that we cannot resolve?” he asked.

“I assure you that we can solve this problem. But determination and big dreams are both necessary. Imagine, once trade begins, once our relationship is improved, how much both nations could benefit,” he said. “Both countries can get ahead.”

“War cannot take place between us. Both countries have nuclear arms, it would be madness,” he said.

“The citizens of both countries want peace. It is just the leadership which needs to be on one page.”

“If India takes one step forward, we will take two steps forward in friendship,” he reiterated.

“I don’t understand why Navjot Singh Sidhu was criticised so harshly when he visited last,” the prime minister said.”

The premier joked that Sidhu had accumulated such a large fan following in Punjab that if he ran in elections in Pakistan, he would win.

“I am hoping that we don’t have to wait until Sidhu becomes prime minister for there to be peace between India and Pakistan,” he added.

Indian ministers arrive for ceremony

Indian Minister for Food Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Housing Minister Hardeep S. Puri at the Wagah Border in Lahore. ? Photo courtesy PTV News Twitter

Indian Minister for Food Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Housing Minister Hardeep S. Puri at the Wagah Border in Lahore. ? Photo courtesy PTV News Twitter

Earlier in the day, an Indian delegation — comprising Minister for Food Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Minister for Housing Hardeep S. Puri — was received by officials of the Pakistan Rangers (Punjab) ,at the Wagah border earlier on Wednesday,.

Map shows how the possibility of a corridor would allow Sikh devotees to visit the gurdwara in Kartarpur, Pakistan.

Map shows how the possibility of a corridor would allow Sikh devotees to visit the gurdwara in Kartarpur, Pakistan.

Badal said that participating in the ceremony was ,an “emotional moment”, for her, while Puri described the visit as ,”the most momentous journey”, in his life.

Former Indian cricket star Navjot Singh Sidhu arrives in Pakistan through the Wagah border on Tuesday. — INP/File

Former Indian cricket star Navjot Singh Sidhu arrives in Pakistan through the Wagah border on Tuesday. — INP/File

Former Indian cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu, who had arrived on Tuesday said, “Today ,marks a pilgrimage away from the hate and greed of politics,, and towards a relationship built upon the dreams, aspirations and spiritual quest of the common people.”

While addressing a press conference at the Lahore Press Club yesterday, Sidhu had expressed hope that the corridor would bring peace and prosperity for citizens of both countries and prove to be “a foundation stone for brotherhood”.

‘Event to open opportunities for Pakistan, India’

Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal hailed the groundbreaking as a monumental event “which will open many opportunities for both Pakistan and India”, ,Radio Pakistan reported,.

Speaking to journalists, Dr Faisal described the initiative taken by Prime Minister Khan as a step towards the inclusion of minorities, and expressed hope that the corridor would prove to be helpful in facilitating Sikh pilgrims to visit their holy sites in Pakistan.

Responding to a question, the FO spokesperson said that the construction of the corridor would be completed before the next birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak in November 2019.

“Pakistan is committed to taking every step to bridge the gaps between Islamabad and New Dehli,” he asserted.

“The Sikh community will be greeted here amid sentiments of love and will return with a positive image of Pakistan and its people,” he said.

Pakistan invites Indian officials for event

The Pakistan government had invited three Indian politicians ? Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Sidhu ? to the event, along with 17 journalists and editors from across the border.

Read: ,India agrees to opening of Kartarpur border,

Swaraj and Singh both declined to attend the event. *Indian ministers Badal and Puri are attending in place of the Indian foreign minister.

Long-awaited corridor opening

Thousands of Sikh devotees from India visit Pakistan every year to celebrate the birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak.

Kartarpur is located in Shakargarh in Narowal district of Pakistan’s Punjab province. Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, had spent more than 18 years of his life there. The Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara is located on the banks of the Ravi River, about three-four kilometres from the border in Pakistan.

The proposal for the corridor has been on the table since 1988 — when Pakistan and India agreed in principle to construct a corridor from Dera Baba Nanak in India to Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan — but tense relations between the two countries prevented progress on the plan.

An Indian Sikh devotee offers prayers at Dera Baba Nanak, Gurdaspur, while looking through binoculars towards the Kartarpur Gurdwara. ? AFP

An Indian Sikh devotee offers prayers at Dera Baba Nanak, Gurdaspur, while looking through binoculars towards the Kartarpur Gurdwara. ? AFP

In the absence of the corridor, Sikh devotees would gather near the border fence and offer prayers with Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in sight, with some of them even using binoculars to better view the temple.

The Pakistan government had in early September proposed to open the Kartarpur border crossing with India for Sikh pilgrims to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib without a visa.

This year — for the 549th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak — the Pakistan embassy in New Delhi ,issued over 3,500 visas to Sikh pilgrims, who wished to attend the celebrations. Instead of visas, the pilgrims will be given special permits to access their shrines.

The Pakistan government will open the four-kilometre-long corridor on the Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary next year.

Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa had hinted at opening the Kartarpur border on the occasion of Baba Guru Nanak’s birth anniversary next year for Sikh pilgrims when ,he met cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, during the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Khan in August.

Islamabad announced the date for the groundbreaking ceremony of the corridor only after the Indian Union cabinet recently ,agreed to avail the offer of the passageway, in view of the 550th birth anniversary of the founder of the Sikh faith, Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, next year.

According to the proposal, the Indian government will construct and develop the Kartarpur corridor from Dera Baba Nanak in Indian Punjab’s Gurdaspur district to the border, while Pakistan will build the other part of the corridor connecting the border to the Gurdwara in the Kartarpur Sahib area of Narowal.

Indian Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh ,laid the foundation stone, of the Kartarpur corridor in Gurdaspur district earlier this week.

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Via DAWN.com

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